Thursday, 10 January 2013

10th January 1933 - Mary to Terrick

Christchurch Road
East Sheen

Tuesday 12-5 pm

My dear good Boy – (kindly N.B maternal note)

Your letter arrived 20 minutes ago – with a joyous rush & clatter through the letter-box, in lonely extacy (?) - I first expected it on Monday morning - & for each of the 3 posts since – when it has failed to arrive – my temperature has gone up 3 points!! – you see I spent last weekend with my friend Miss Eastman at Barnet & on Sunday contracted the vulgar disease known as flu – all Sunday night my temp was 103 & I had the most rotten bronchitis & wept pints out of undiluted self-pity – so on Monday morning, with great rush & palaver, Norah rushed me home & put me to bed – where I have sweated profusely ever since – feel rotten & better by turns – read one book of poems – School for Scandal - & if dogs could write (damn, I can’t find any blotting paper) - & waited for a letter.  I had a rotten night – burst into tears this morning because Mummy told me to take two aspirins with my bread & milk & I said they’d only go down with water!!! – slept until 11-30 – woke up – cleaned my teeth twice because I hadn’t for two days! - & was just sitting down to the 22nd (!!!!!) chapter of Pride & Predujice (?) when heaven sent arrival of mercury from G.P.O with the best tonic for flu yet invented.  (just a mo: while I hold my nose & take my horribly material one). * * * (those are three gulps & thank heaven that's over for another 4 hours) – But to proceed – Before opening your epistle I did my hair (which is absolutely devoid of all “ondulation”) & surveyed my beauteous self in mirror – a most fearful sight – yellow eyes – blotchy countenance – 3 spots – red nose – & straight hair! – Thank heaven you’re in F.W.!!

- Anyway I cast away Pride & Predujice – snorted at my grapes & split the envelope.  Since then I have spent chuckling & guffawing & smiling gently (maternally!!) - & altogether I feel ever so much better.  Thank you ever & ever so much for it.  You see, yesterday evening  was so very much down in the dumps (N. having gone home) that I even went so far in my imagination as to think perhaps you’d forgotten all about writing to me – or had thought, after Thursday, I wasn’t as much your sort as you’d thought at first & altogether I was a bit of a frost!! – (Flu’ does these sort of things for one you know!) – anyway – everything’s O.K. now - & I shan’t start thinking anything so silly again until the next one doesn’t arrive!

- But here I must clear your mind on a point  my eagerness for your letter sprang from a purely ulterior motive – its main cause being – that directly I had yours I could reply with mine!! – very selfish – but nevertheless true – you see, ever since you got out at Dover St. on Friday I’ve thought of little else but what I was going to say in this (so we have something of the “social” in us!!)  Why do grapes have pips? & skins? *** (demolition of 3 grapes.)

- Well, first I think I’ll tell you all I’ve done since Friday - & then I’ll give a most beautiful running commentary on your 10 pages. – so let me excuse myself for how long this letter is going to be now - & then I needn’t stop to do it again _ & anyway you did ask me to write a long one- & that it should be about “me” – (but the last was quite unnecessary – you’ll soon learn that its impossible for me to write a letter which isn’t all about “me”)

- On Friday evening at the tick of 7.30 I thought of you puffing off – so I hope you were! – I felt thoroughly disagreeable (p.p office) & the last thing I wanted to do was to dance. – specially with nobody nice to dance with – (after the truly ideal assortment of the night before! (!) ) – Anyway it wasn’t too dusty – my green dress always cheers me up – only 4 decent men in the room.  The first, Frances Lederer’s cousin from Budapest – distinct foreigner (in everything) – like me (N.B – most females present over 40) – danced beautifully – inquired where I had taken my lessons in flirtation – where I got my beautiful eyes from ? (!!!!!) (perhaps Paul knows!!!) - & told Roger Standing he was in love with me (oh lord – distinct foreigner!) – anyway – he thought I was beautiful (heavens!! – first person to tell me so!!) until I said I was too fat – then he agreed with me

- the second, a callow youth – only on list because he didn’t know me from Adam & came back for three dances running – too dull for congenial conversation.

- the third (are you bored?) Mervyn Spraig – a boy I haven’t seen for seven or 8 years – we acted in fairy plays together – therefore found common ground for conversation & got on quite well.  Very ordinary – but bossy – I do like bossy men. – but as I believe there is no female who doesn’t please treat this announcement in strict confidence (to like something everybody did would go against the grain so)

- number 4 easily took the cake.  he was M.C. & only danced two dances. the first with his sister & the last dance of all with me – I was so bucked I threw over Mervyn for it – it is nice to get what you’ve been angling for all the evening – probably one day I shall get more than I bargained for.  Serve me jolly well right.

Saturday N. & I went to the school dance – frightful frost – all little backward boys who had to be brought up to you – only one any good at all - & he needed teaching such a lot there wasn’t time - & it wouldn’t have been worth the trouble in the end! (Heavens – shade of Paul!) – Sunday I felt too rotten for words – I have to discuss you so carefully with the Eastman family – or they’d think – oh well – its really immaterial what anybody thinks! – I’ve known them for 7 years N. is easily the dearest of the lot - & they’re the very antithesis of our family – but they’ve all got the very best of hearts.  Which – after all – is one of the mail points in this grabbing life! – well – as I said before I went to bed & wept pints (you’ve yet to learn what a little it takes to make me weep! – anything from sunsets to seedlity powders will !!) – (I had to have alliteration).  But Norah sat up all night & held my hand for me – she is a dear - & just the right person to be my friend – simply won’t be sloppy - & keeps all her feelings inside – whereas mine loose their sanctity by being thrown indiscriminately around.  But I’m getting better!

I’ve just read your letter again - &, dear old thing, its super! – But you MUST BE CAREFUL. – I loved every word of it – simply because its so frightfully well put & fills me with envy & admiration – But it made me feel just like I did last Thursday night! (only bits of it, at least) – you know “we’d – both – be – so – much – nearer – if – he – took – three – paces – backwards” sort of feeling – mainly because then I’m in full command of the situation – whereas when you run on like this I have to keep up with you out of pure inquisitiveness for whats coming next! – You see, your last two letters have put me to the expense of buying a new file – they’re absolutely my first of a kind – whereas you must have been writing similar ones for donkeys years. (nasty! – I’m sorry – but I must try & quell a pat-on-the-back feeling I have when I sometimes go so far as to imagine you’ll need a new file for me!)

- As for the running after me business – don’t worry yourself too much on that score – because so far (unless goaded) I’m only sauntering – so don’t overtake me without recognising me – will you?  Because I’m not sure whether I should have the will-power to catch you up again!

What does B.F stand for? Bloody Fool? Thats all I can think of that fits in!

- Fort William sounds gorgeous – I could just do with lots of wind & rain & no hat – do you think they’d let me come up there to recuperate after my bad illness? – Poly reps. are specially chosen for their recuperating propensities (& smiles) aren’t they?

- the next time we shall see each other will be the 21st – it won’t be a particularly bright dance – but its usually quite fun - & I shall know everybody there – so anyone you’d like to be introduced to just whisper! - & also I’ll show you some of the special places I love most in the world – because you see school was the most perfect time of my life - & I know every stick & stone of it.

- yes – when you come back – we’ll find some things to do in “cold-blooded” daylight – but why on earth start with an aeroplane? – as a matter of fact Norah & I were going to try one day – but you say “& then do more prosaic things afterwards” – my dear – it would be too most horribly prosaic for words 

– I should be violently sick immediately we started & not stop till we came down again! – So you would enjoy yourself!! – But perhaps you could go first trip & me next – then I could prop myself up against you when I landed!! – but we’ll see – I very badly want to stand for a ? with you – one can learn such a lot about a person when standing in a queue!

- well – please write soon again - & don’t pull this too much to pieces because I have enjoyed it so.

- Mary Pleasant

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